“Woo Hoo! A hole in one!”
“Woo hoo? Since when do you say woo hoo?” he asked as he sunk his ball on his second shot.
“Hey, I got a hole in one. That deserves a little celebration. I never could do cartwheels. So, woo hoo it is,” she answered, her blue eyes glaring happily at him. She bent, pulled his ball out of the hole and tossed it to him. She headed for the next hole.
He fell into step behind her, but stopped at her words. He leaned on his club as a bark of laughter exploded from him. His blue eyes, so similar to hers, sparkled at her.
“What’s so funny?” she asked, adding a frown to her glare as she looked at him over her shoulder, the slight May breeze ruffling her short, reddish-brown hair.
“Nothing. Nothing at all, sis. Just the idea of my sister, the clutziest woman on the face of the earth doing a cartwheel…”
“Exactly! That’s why the Woo Hoo,” she said stopping at the next hole. “It’s your turn you know.”
“Yeah, yeah, Miss I-got-a-hole-in-one.”
“You’re just jealous, ‘cuz I’ve gotten one and you, Mr. I-golf-twice-a-week-and-my-handicap-is-so-low, haven’t got one yet.”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?” he asked as he took his shot on the fifteenth hole. The ball sailed smoothly underneath the pirate’s legs and stopped a foot from the hole that perched on the edge of the miniature beach. “Have you been practicing?”
“Yeah, I’ve been practicing,” she answered as she lined up her ball on the miniature green and took her swing. It flew under the pirate’s legs and rolled to a stop inches from the hole. “I got sick of you kicking my butt every year. What’s the matter, Frank? Don’t like the competition?” She smirked at him as she easily sunk the ball.
He took a tiny putt and got the ball inches from the hole. “I like competition just fine,” he said sinking the ball with a tiny tap.
“Sure you do,” she laughed. “Remember, I grew up with you. I know very well how much you like to win.” She started walking to the next hole.
“I’ve mellowed with age,” he said, falling into step beside her. A gust of wind blew his comb-over about, leaving his brown hair a mess and his small bald spot showing.
“Mellow, shmellow. I don’t think so. Mum always said you’d go to any lengths to win. I don’t expect that’ll ever change.”
He chuckled. “Well at least I don’t have to pretend with you. I can be myself.”
“Pretending wouldn’t do any good anyway,” she said. “You never were any good at it. Take your turn.” She reached over and fixed his hair, so the comb-over covered the bald spot.
He swatted her hand away and walked over to the tee on the green, muttering under his breath, “I don’t know what she means, I can pretend.”
Hearing him, she laughed as his ball sailed over the galleon sunk in the mini-lagoon, hit the rim of the hole and bounced out, hit a mini-mountain and rolled back to land inches from the hole.
“Well, that was exciting,” she said, lining up her own shot. Then she straightened up and said, “Do you remember the last time we came here with mum?”
“Of course I do,” he answered. “Boy, she could kick both our butts. Dad’s, too.”
“Yeah, she could,” Karen answered with a soft smile. She lined up her shot again and swung. Her ball landed slightly farther away from the hole than his. “Though Dad’s game was really bowling.”
“True,” Frank took his turn, easily sinking his ball, “I think she’d approve of us doing this, don’t you?”
“Absolutely! Remember how when we were kids and would fight about something…”
“Yeah, usually because of you tattling on me…”
“Or you bossing me around. Anyway, she always said that no matter how much we fought then, when we grew up we’d be best friends, because no one else in the whole world would have the same history as us. No one else could understand us like we could understand each other.”
“Yeah, she kept on saying it, too. She said something similar to me that last time I was up to see her.”
“Me, too. When I went to visit her two days before, she made me promise to not let you drift away from me.”
“I wonder why she thought I would drift away?”
“I don’t know. She was old fashioned in some ways. Maybe she felt that women were naturally the family keepers.”
“Yeah, I think that’s it. She was always surprised when I wanted to spend the holidays with her and dad instead of Cindy’s family.”
“It’s funny; she always expected different things from me than she did from you. Sometimes that made me crazy,” Karen shook her head. “And you would take advantage of that.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” he said, frowning at her. “I never took advantage of mum.”
“Oh, don’t get on your high horse. I don’t mean that you stole her grocery money or anything like that. You just took advantage of the lesser expectations she had of you when it came time to spending time with her or doing things around her house. You know.”
“Well, I am busy. And I did live more than an hour away from her. And…”
“Okay, okay. Let’s just drop it. I don’t want to fight with you about mum on the day we honor her. I apologize for what I said.”
As they argued, they moved on to the next hole. He placed his pink ball on the tee and prepared to shoot. “Well, if I’m honest, you have a point. I could probably have done more for her. And you took up the slack,” he grinned at her with the same sheepish look he used to charm their mother with.
She shook her head at him. “Yeah, yeah, Mr. Charming, you’re forgiven,” she paused a moment. “You know, mum was pretty smart. She knew you’d make me crazy and that I couldn’t stay mad at you. I think that’s the real reason why she told me not to let you drift away from me.” She grinned at him.
He grinned back at her and said, “She was smart, but this rule she made up about switching balls is stupid.”
“What’s the matter? Don’t like pink?”
“That’s right! I don’t like pink. I like blue, or green, or even yellow.”
“I don’t understand the issue. I love pink.”
“I know. Year after year you pick the pink ball and then we have to switch and I get stuck with it. It was different when there was four of us playing, or even three; I didn’t always get stuck with the pink one.”
“Yes, perfect, isn’t it? Something you can’t control” she answered, grinning at him. “You gonna take your turn, or what?”
“I’ll take my turn,” he answered. Addressing the ball he said under his breath, “Maybe next year, I’ll pick the pink ball first. That’ll fix you, won’t it?” He swung and the ball flew into the pirate’s cave. They could hear the ball bouncing around and falling through one of the hidden holes inside. As he walked down the four steps to the lower level of the hole he leaned over the little railing to see which hole it would pop out of. “Where’d it come out?” she asked, placing her ball on the green.
“Near the stairs and away from the cup, of course,” he replied. “Why?”
“I want to know which tee on the mat to use,” she answered.
“That only helps if you know which one I used,” he laughed, shaking his head at her.
“Oh, I know,” she said nodding her head. “I’ve been paying attention.” At his puzzled look, she continued, “I told you I’m sick of getting my butt kicked. I want to, if not win, at least not lose so badly.”
She placed the ball on the far left tee, swung, and before the ball had started bouncing around in the cave, raced over to the steps and down them to see where the ball came out.
The ball flew out of the center hole and gracefully plunked down in the cup with a satisfactory “clink.”
“Woo Hoo! Another hole in one!” She danced her way to the cup and picked up her yellow ball.
“There you go with the woo hooing again,” he said, shaking his head as he took his shot. The ball landed in the cup and he picked it up.
They walked companionably towards the eighteenth hole.
“You know I’m still going to win, don’t you, sis?”
“Oh, I know. I don’t need to win. I just wanted to give you a run for your money.”
“Well, you have,” he said. Suddenly, he stopped. “Wait a minute; have you been practicing your bowling, too?”
She smirked at him and said, “Just take your turn, you control freak.”
“Okay, if you won’t say, I’ll just have to assume you have been and take appropriate action.” He place the ball on the tee and hit it hard so it would fly off the plank and land beyond the water hazard – a miniature ocean filled with pirate ships doing battle with British warships. It did, and landed safely a few inches from the cup.
“Nice shot,” she said placing her ball on the tee.
“Remember, hit it hard.”
“I know. I know.”
“I know you know, but every year your ball rolls off the plank and into the ocean,” he said laughing.
“Well, not this year,” she answered, sounding determined. She bent, twisted away from the ball, and swung. A sharp crack rang out and the ball sailed through the air. It missed the plank altogether and bounced to a stop in the middle of the green on the far side of the ocean.
“Great shot, sis!” He took his turn, sunk his pink ball and picked it up out of the cup in one smooth motion. Turning to look at her he asked, “Aren’t you going to woo hoo?”
“Nope, I save woo hoos for holes in one.” Under her breath she added, “and strikes.” It was her turn and it took her two tries to sink the ball. “Okay, tell me the damage,” she said watching him as he totaled up their scores.
“Well, I won.”
“No, duh…by how much?”
“You really have gotten pretty good. I only beat you by seven points.”
They walked towards the nineteenth hole and took turns shooting their balls into the treasure chest ball return.
He took her club from her, and put his arm around her shoulders, and gave her a little squeeze as he dropped the clubs on the shelf in the pirate shack. They headed for the parking lot walking side by side.
“Are John and the kids taking you out for dinner tonight?” he asked.
“No, we decided to do breakfast instead this year.”
“Really? Mum always liked going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day.”
“Me, too. I don’t know why we changed it to dinner after she died,” she was silent for a moment as they walked and then said, “It just seemed wrong for awhile, but after a couple years, I missed the old habit.”
“I know what you mean,” he said. “But the kids and I are taking Cindy out tonight.”
“Well, she never did care much about breakfast.”
“True, her favorite treat would be a champagne luncheon,” they looked at each other and laughed. “Well that has to wait until the kids are older, if ever,” he said shaking his head.
They had reached her car, and they turned to face each other.
“Tell Cindy, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ for me,” she said. “And give the kids my love.”
“I will. Say hi to John and the girls for me.”
“Well, I have an hour long drive ahead of me, Frank. I better get going.”
“Yeah, mine’s even longer.”
“Yeah, yeah, Mr. Competitive, you win the competition for the longest drive to get here. So you need to get going, too,” she said grinning and wagging her finger at him.
“Well, my ride is longer,” he said. “It’ll take me an hour fifteen or hour and a half, so I really need to get a move on if I’m going to get home in time for our reservation at six.” He shook his head as if shaking out those competitive urges, grinned, put his arms around her and gave her a hug. “Happy Mother’s Day, kiddo.”
“Thanks, Frank,” she said, hugging him back. She wiped away a little tear as she turned to open the car door.
“See you next month at Mid-Town Lanes. What day is it?”
“It’s your day, you’d think you’d remember it,” she said laughing. “The third Sunday. I think it’s the fifteenth this year.” She climbed in the car and he started to walk towards his car a few spaces away.
She leaned out and called to him “Be prepared!”
Turning back to her, he grinned at her, “Oh yeah? Be prepared for what?”
“To get your butt kicked!”
“Brat! We’ll see whose butt gets kicked and who does the kicking!” he called back laughing.
“That’s right. Love you!”
“You too. See you next month!” he called back to her.
She closed her door, started the car and with a beep backed out of the space.
He waved as she drove away, turned, and continued on to his car.
“Woo Hoo! A hole in one!”